The rain-soaked region was expecting more precipitation Wednesday night, some of it heavy. The National Weather Service in Memphis issued flash flood warnings for parts of Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee. In addition to the three drowning incidents in Tennessee, there was a fourth drowning in Oklahoma in recent days. Two of the victims were young children.
Shelby County, Tenn., sheriff's department spokesman Steve Shular said the tow truck driver apparently lost his footing and was swept into the ditch while trying to tow a stalled car early Tuesday morning.
WREG reports that the owner of Star Towing has identified the missing man as Clyde Stewart, 40. Glen McAlexander said the tow truck driver was experienced and would go the extra mile or two to make sure he got the job done. McAlexander says he can't believe this happened.
"He was a good Christian man," McAlexander said. "He was never unhappy."
Meanwhile, teams with dogs searched the Black River in northeastern Arkansas on Wednesday for a man missing since Tuesday afternoon. He and another man were in a boat when it capsized southwest of Pocahontas, the Randolph County Sheriff's Department said. The missing man's name was not released.
More rain was forecast for much of Arkansas, while rainfall from last week was still draining Wednesday, bringing continued flooding along the Black, Cache and lower White rivers. Low-water crossings along roads continued to be a problem, the National Weather Service said.
The new rains are expected to last for days. Weather systems from Louisiana and Texas were forecast to meet over Arkansas and bring showers and thunderstorms Wednesday into Thursday. Much of the state was under a flash flood watch.
In Memphis, the body of 19-year-old Charles Gaddy was pulled Tuesday evening from McKellar Lake, a recreational lake that links to the Mississippi River. Witnesses said he fell over the rail of a crosswalk Monday and into a concrete drainage ditch behind the apartments where he lived.
On Monday afternoon, 7-year-old Jacob Wade and three other boys were playing near a rain-swollen creek when Jacob slipped into the water and drowned, Shular said.
In Peggs, Okla., searchers on Tuesday found the body of 2-year-old Mackinsey Beck, who was swept away when her mother slipped Monday while carrying her across a flooded creek, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.
"She had the baby on her shoulders and slipped and fell. She and the baby both fell in the rushing water," said Trooper Betsy Randolph. The mother, Heather Alverson, had carried the girl from their home in an effort to escape rising water.
The National Weather Service said up to 6 inches of rain fell on the area Monday as severe thunderstorms pounded parts of Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. High wind and a few tornadoes caused scattered damage.
Elsewhere, heavy snow fell across the Upper Midwest, with 20 inches reported in Negaunee Township in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
The Minnesota State Patrol said slick roads contributed to at least one traffic death Monday.